I live in Northern Virginia. I love it here. I really do. But the pace of life can seem non-stop. Everyone seems busy, overbooked and traffic is nearly always an issue. From that perspective, there is always a reason for long lines.
But no matter where we live, we all have times of waiting. Either in traffic, grocery lines, or in waiting rooms. Last week I was visiting my doctor and I had to wait for over an hour to be seen.
In the waiting, there are usually 3 responses.
3. Zone out. (hello iPhones)
My initial gut reaction that day was multi-faced: I began to worry about my kids and mom who were waiting on me for lunch, to fume about all the people who arrived after me, but were called before me, and to zone out in the world of mobile Facebook, mindlessly scrolling news-feeds.
But as I waited, I felt drawn into God. In the quiet of that waiting room, I found what I so often crave as a busy mom: quiet, alone time. It wasn’t the most spiritual setting, but it was quiet, and I was able to spend the time doing something more than fume about waiting.
God designed us to walk with Him, and He wants to meet us on the go, as we wait, as we work, as we walk, as we do everyday life. He is able to redeem all things, even what we feel like is “wasted time” in a waiting room or traffic jam.
God is with us at all times. We have full access to His presence, His peace, and His wisdom at.all.times, too. Even, in what feels like “wasted” time.
Here are 4 ways to redeem “wasted” waiting time:
1. Think twice before grabbing your iPhone. We so quickly grab our cell phones and scroll Facebook or Twitter for no reason, except that we have 30 seconds of down time. I’m so guilty of this! Resist the apps and the phone and news feeds when you have a window of waiting time. We crave quiet alone time (especially us moms), so let’s train our minds to re-think traffic jams or waiting rooms as places and spaces to develop, grow or reflect, rather than zone out or stress out.
2. Give God your worries. Bring your heart concerns right to God. Keep a small journal with you (or your notes section on your iPhone if that works) and keep track of prayers/questions/concerns you want to bring to God. When you have to wait in line for something, revisit that list, and in the quiet place of your heart bring those things before God. Then listen! He loves to speak and meet us! Sometimes just giving our concerns to Him is all that is needed to find the peace we need. We can trust Him as He works all things out for our good. But first we have to stop and give Him our worries. Waiting rooms are a great time/place to do that!
3. Get beyond yourself, and look around for people who need a touch from God. One of my favorite things to do is to ask God if He has a word of encouragement or a word of wisdom for the people around me. That particular day in the Dr.’s office, I felt prompted by God to give a word of encouragement to my Dr. when she came in. After we chatted, I shared something like this: “When I see you, I see a woman who…..”. She seemed really encouraged. I was able to see her like God sees her, and encourage her, because I had slowed my internal engines (during my wait time) enough to feel God’s heart for her.
4. Just be. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) Sometimes the best way to redeem “waiting times” is to just rest and be still. Take deep breaths, offering “breath prayers” of trust, love, and praise. “Thank you God.” “God, I trust you.” “God, you are good.” “God, I love you.” When you get that still, it’s amazing the way your perspective on life shifts.
How do you feel about “wasted” waiting times? Do you zone out, fume, or have you found other ways to “redeem” the time that I could use too? I’d love to hear from you!